In honor of Holocaust Awareness Week, at 11 a.m. Sunday, Beth David Congregation at 2625 SW Third Ave., will have a commemorative Torah Writing Day to honor Holocaust survivors and their families. One of the Holocaust survivors is a Torah that was written in 1890 and rescued in 1945, when it was found in the village of Mlanda Vozice, Czechoslovakia, about 40 miles from Prague. Now the property of Beth David, the Torah is one of only 1,500 Torahs worldwide that survived the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe. It is one of only 500 Torahs that can be koshered (restored following strict standards of production). Beth David has enlisted the services of a sofer (scribe) to help restore the Torah. The restored Torah will be used at the synagogue’s High Holy Day services.
According to information from Beth David, during the Holocaust, the Germans confiscated Torahs throughout Europe and housed them in Prague. After the war, the Torahs became the responsibility of the Czech government. In 1963, the government secretly transported the Torahs to the Westminster Synagogue in London.
Members of the South Florida community are invited to join Holocaust survivors and their families for the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to write a letter in a rescued Torah, with the help of a sofer.
"History is being made and there will be much emotion in having survivors and the community make a Torah rescued from the Holocaust by writing one Hebrew letter at a time," said Rebecca Pfeiffer, chairwoman of the Torah Restoration Project. "The sofer will teach us how a Torah is written and restored. this will be a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity... those participating will have a memory never to be forgotten. ... By restoring the Torahs, we are preserving forever the hope of the Jewish people."
Prior to the event, a VIP breakfast will be at 9 a.m. and will feature state Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Surfside, and other political leaders. The breakfast program will feature the Sona String Quartet performing music that was composed during the Holocaust. A sofer will also speak on how a Torah is koshered
The synagogue celebrated its centennial in 2012. The Torah writing day is a part of its "Next Century of Learning: Embracing Our Past, Building Our Future" for a new technology center for students of the Beth David Gordon Schools and the synagogue.
The South Florida community is invited to the event. To make reservations for the VIP breakfast and learn more about Torah Writing Day, call 305-854-3911, ext. 200 or go to www.bethdavidmiami.org.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal celebrates 50 years
Congratulations to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at Southwest 144th St. and Old Cutler Road, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. A religious celebration will be at 10 a.m. Sunday, led by Bishop Leo Frade of the Diocese of Southeast Florida. He will celebrate with communion and will welcome the newly confirmed and those celebrating their first communion.
Retired Bishop Calvin Schofield, who celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priesthood last January, is St. Andrew’s first priest. The church is his first parish.
A Celebration Luncheon will follow the service in the church’s parish hall.
Bells will ring at Trinity Cathedral
On Saturday and Sunday, the downtown community will enjoy three hours of uninterrupted bell-ringing at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.